Advancing Rational Synthesis Through Investigation of Kinetic Pathways and Metastable Compounds

Historically, synthetic methods used to make solid-state compounds produced thermodynamically stable products (generally those found in phase diagrams). These methods require large amounts of energy, long times, and limit the ability to isolate kinetically stable products. By exploring a wider range of reaction conditions where kinetic pathways can be accessed advanced synthesis techniques and a greater understanding of material synthesis can be achieved, leading to the isolation and characterization of novel materials with interesting and potentially useful properties. This seminar will demonstrate why investigating kinetic pathways is a key step toward ‘Materials by Design’ using two model systems; Fe2SiS4 and CuInSe2.

The two model systems chosen are well-known photovoltaic materials and depict major goals and difficulties of studying kinetic pathways. The Hillhouse group uses in situ X-ray diffraction to characterize kinetic intermediates that form and subsequently dissociate during the production of Fe2SiS4, a thermodynamically stable product. Understanding this pathway allowed a survey of different kinetic pathways to be completed leading to a lower energy synthesis. Conversely, the Shoemaker group investigated a solution synthesis of the kinetic product CuInSe2 and found a reaction pathway similar to that of Fe2SeS4. The compilation of these results exemplifies how understanding numerous pathways could lead to a library of different approaches toward predictive material syntheses.


(1) Jiang, Z.; Ramanathan, A.; Shoemaker, D. J. Mater. Chem. C. 2017, 5, 5709

(2) Kar, M.; Agrawal, T.; Hillhouse, H. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 17239-17247

(3) U.S. Department of Energy. Basic Research Needs for Synthesis Science for Energy Relevant Technology. Accessed on 08/30/17

(4) Soderholm, L.; Mitchel, J. F. APL Mater. 2016, 4, 053212






Division(s): Materials

Speaker: Lily Moloney

Speaker Institution: Colorado State University

Event Date: 09-15-2017

Event Time: 4:00 PM

Event Location: Chemistry A101

Mixer Time: 3:45 PM

Mixer Location: Chemistry B101E

Host: A. Prieto